Impressive, affordable indoor security camera

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In addition to security, a camera like the Wyze Cam Pan v2 is great for monitoring pets, babies, at-risk seniors and so on. (Photo: Rick Broida)

The original Wyze Cam Pan was a home-run product, offering an amazing array of home-security features for an unrivaled price. Small wonder, then, that it took Wyze years to develop a successor, as there was little that needed improving.

But here comes the Wyze Cam Pan v2, and its upgrades are indeed modest. So is it still a home run, or merely a solid hitter? (Hey, what can I say, baseball season just started.) The answer is…complicated.

First things first: Normally $50, the Wyze Cam Pan v2 is currently on sale at Amazon for $40 — the first time the product has been discounted.

(Pro tip: If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day Amazon Prime trial here.)

$40 $50 at Amazon

Even at $50 it’s a remarkably affordable camera, though in recent years lots of similarly priced competitors have emerged. At this writing, for example, the Eufy Security Solo IndoorCam drops to $39 when you clip the on-page $5-off coupon. And the Kasa EC70 is on sale for just $30. When the original Pan hit the scene back in 2018, it was priced at $30, and there was nothing else even close.

Wyze Cam Pan v2: Features and performance

I haven’t had the chance to try those other cameras, but I’ve tested the Pan extensively. It’s a 1080p indoor model that can rotate a full 360 degrees on its base and tilt its lens up and down a little over 90 degrees. In other words, it delivers a pretty complete field of vision, making it an excellent choice for home security and monitoring.

Speaking of which, the Pan supports motion and sound detection, automated room scanning, two-way audio, local and cloud storage, and Alexa and Google Assistant integration. If you own an Amazon or Google smart display, you can request a live feed (just by asking, natch). However, Apple HomeKit isn’t supported, something to consider if you want Siri in your smart-home mix. In that case, consider the aforementioned Eufy camera.

So far, I’ve just described the original Cam Pan. The v2’s biggest upgrade is color night vision, which definitely makes a difference: Instead of monochromatic images, you get something that looks much closer to full-color daylight recording. While I’m not sure this adds a tone of value, at least in an indoor camera, it’s a nifty improvement that works well.

Here'sa shot of my living room, as captured by the Wyze Cam Pan.  To move the view, I just swipe left, right, up or down.  (Photo: Rick Broiida)

Here’s a shot of my living room, as captured by the Wyze Cam Pan. To move the view, I just swipe left, right, up or down. (Photo: Rick Broiida)

Regarding storage, Wyze’s options have grown a bit confusing. The company continues to offer 14 days’ worth of free, rolling cloud storage (something few other camera makers match), though with some limitations: just 12 seconds per clip and a 5-minute cooldown session between recordings. To get these features, you must sign up for Cam Plus Lite, where Wyze encourages you to “name your own price” (and, yes, $0 is an option). Meanwhile, there’s Cam Plus ($1.25/month when paid annually), which allows for longer recordings and removes the cooldown period. It also adds smarter detection features: person, package, pet and vehicle.

That’s a reasonable subscription price, no question, but I don’t like that it’s per-device: If you add another Wyze camera to your home, the Plus benefits aren’t automatically applied; you have to pay another $1.25 per month. At least you have the option of popping into an inexpensive microSD card that can hold days’ worth of recordings. Not all smart home cameras offer that feature.

I also need to shout out the extremely good Wyze app, which is much more intuitive and user-friendly than most. Among other things, it lets you set up rules that loop in other devices, like turning on a lamp when the camera detects motion.

Wyze about privacy?

I have exactly one reservation about recommending the Wyze Cam Pan v2: Last month, Wyze made headlines for failing to disclose and correct a security flaw. While it appears no damage was done (there have been no reports of hackers successfully exploiting this flaw), you’ll have to decide whether Wyze deserves your business.

I’ve followed the company since its earliest days and have always found it to be extremely transparent with customers — more so than most — so this was a rather surprising occurrence. The general consensus: Wyze should have disclosed this flaw to customers instead of sitting on it for three years.

Obviously privacy is an important consideration, especially with smart-home products, and I get that you might be dubious about a smaller company. That said, larger ones don’t always fare better: Ring has long been in the news about video-doorbell privacy, and Amazon’s recently added Sidewalk feature shares your internet connection with neighbors by default.

Wyze Cam Pan v2: Should you buy it?

Personally, I think the benefits to having a Wyze Cam Pan v2 in your home vastly outweigh the extremely slim risks of a privacy breach. (In fact, I feel that way about every connected device I own, including my phone, TV, computer and so on — all of them varying degrees of vulnerable to hackers.)

For a mere $40, you get an indoor camera that’s super-smart, easy to use and legitimately useful. It may not hit a homer, but I’d say it lands a solid stand-up triple.

$40 $50 at Amazon

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